The Wellington Village Council met in-person on Tuesday, Oct. 13 to present its annual Top Cop award to Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Scott Poritz and its annual Top Firefighter award to Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Capt. Craig Dube.
Poritz has served the village for 14 years and just moved to a different department. He is described as organized and a natural leader. He has handled the policing presence at the village’s annual holiday parade, organizes the Day for Autism outreach program, and even helped an elderly couple remove and organize their belongings in their garage to repair the roof.
When Poritz approached the podium, he began by thanking his wife Stacy and his son. “I am extremely appreciative to have her in my life, as it is not easy to be married into this profession,” he said. “This award is not just for me, it’s for all of PBSO in all of the communities and cities that they serve.”
Poritz also thanked his co-workers, the businesses in the village, the residents and the council for highlighting the positive work done by the PBSO.
Council members took turns praising Poritz for his work.
“I have enjoyed working with you these last four years and interacting with you because you were at every community event,” Councilman Michael Drahos said. “You are in my mind as the role model [of a police officer] that I want my kids to interact with, so when they think of police officers, they think of someone like you.”
Councilman Michael Napoleone agreed. “We’ve worked together on A Day for Autism, and we were so close to being able to do it this year, we just missed it by a week when COVID-19 hit,” he said. “You were always there for all of us. You are so deserving of this award.”
Vice Mayor Tanya Siskind also noted Poritz’ presence in the community.
“I see you at every community event, and when I read the nomination letters, they speak about leadership, and it is no wonder that the Public Safety Committee picked you as Top Cop,” she said. “We can’t thank you enough for your service.”
Councilman John McGovern thanked the committee for its work.
“I want to thank the Public Safety Committee for doing the tough job of choosing the Top Cop, so we didn’t have to do it, because your whole team is spectacular,” he said. “Let me speak directly to you and say thank you to your wife and son for giving you to our community. Your job is often hard, but you are the type person who is compassionate and dedicated and still strong.”
Mayor Anne Gerwig echoed the comments of her fellow council members.
“Thank you for your integrity and your dedication, and thank your wife and your family for showing up and participating,” she said.
Dube was introduced by PBCFR District Chief William Rawley, who remarked on Dube’s “ability to maintain a cool head in the most challenging of emergencies.”
Nominated by PBCFR Battalion Chief Ken Wooldridge, Dube is a longtime Wellington resident and has been a Palm Beach County firefighter for more than 25 years. He is a family man with five daughters.
Dube had been a medic and a certified driver before being named to the lieutenant short list, then bypassing it to be promoted to captain.
Dube is described as quiet, mild mannered and always ready to work hard to meet the department’s goals and objectives in the areas of training, education and consistency.
“It is a great honor to be recognized,” Dube said, adding that he is a man of few words.
Council members remarked that they recently received great PBCFR reports with great response times, and all offered congratulations.
“You are the first line when someone has a problem,” Gerwig said. “You are the first ones to show up, you’re in there in the heat of it whether it’s fire, accident or any kind of service call.”
Siskind thanked Dube for his dedicated service. “I read your nomination letter and was so impressed by what your coworkers said about you,” she said.
McGovern agreed. “Sometimes you know a lot about a person by the company they keep, and to see the people who came out to see you receive this award is very impressive, and we are happy to have you as a longtime resident of the village,” he said.
In other business:
• The council accepted a Recreational Developmental Assistance Program $50,000 matching grant for Greenbriar Park. The funds will be used for volleyball courts and recreational facilities at the park.
• A scrivener’s error required re-approval of a previously approved item. The error was regarding a magistrate’s term, which should begin June 1. This was incorrectly typed in one spot as July 1. A new public hearing and vote needed to be held to ensure that all agreed that it was an error and should be corrected.
Village Attorney Laurie Cohen said that without the correction, one term would end and there would be a one-month lapse before the next term began. After evidence was shown, proving that it was indeed an error, the correction was adopted and passed unanimously.
The next meeting of the Wellington Village Council is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 27.